I recently read Unspeak, a book which examines the use of language in politics and the media. A large section is devoted to discussing the word ‘genocide’, which apparently used to be a tremendously powerful word. Genocide should, under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, demand international intervention. For a while, all this meant was that phrases like ‘ethnic cleansing’ were used instead, so that countries with power to change things could sit by and look solemn. Recently all pretense seems to have been dropped, and Darfur has been branded a genocide without any action being taken. Go figure.

Although standards may have slipped, you’d think genocide would still be a strong word. According to mediawatchwatch, the Russian Central Spiritual Directorate of Muslims recently used it in a press statement. Wow. Clearly, something big must be going on if the word ‘genocide’ is being used. What is this terrible event?

The Da Vinci Code.

The release of this film is:

an highly sophisticated form of spiritual genocide against the peoples of Russia.

Utter insanity. Here’s the definition of ‘genocide’:

genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Obviously this is a group of crazies, and aren’t really worth the attention, but that phrase annoyed the hell out of me. Now I’m going to go think about cheerier subjects 🙂